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How to watch the new Star Wars VR content

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Jakku Spy is the new VR-friendly mini-movie inside the Star Wars app.
Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

The only thing better than watching "Star Wars"? Actually visiting a galaxy far, far away, of course. And the best way to do that (for now, at least) is by strapping on a virtual-reality headset.

Good news: For a limited time, Verizon stores are giving away free Star Wars-themed Google Cardboard VR headsets. If you don't have a store close by or supplies have run out, fear not: You can build your own on the cheap or buy something a bit more substantial (from a site like GearBest) for nearly as cheap.

That's one component; the others are your smartphone and the free Star Wars app, available for both Android and iOS. A newly released update adds a section called Jakku Spy, which appears to be a collection of VR-friendly video segments that tie into "The Force Awakens."

I say "appears to be" because, for now, there's only one available -- a short, kind of disappointing introduction to this little mini-movie (though I will say it's pretty cool to see a Star Wars plot-crawl in VR). Eight more segments will be released in the days leading up to the movie's release.

Once you've installed the app, tap the Jakku Spy option and wait for it to download the necessary content. Likewise, when you tap segment 1, it'll take a minute or two to download.


Trust me, this looks a lot cooler when you're wearing a VR headset.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

From there, just tap the Google Cardboard option (applicable even if you have a different headset), then insert your phone once the countdown begins.

You don't need a button or any kind of controller; the first segment is a watch-only affair, and when it's done you can replay it or exit by directing your "gaze pointer" at the appropriate onscreen option.

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And that's it! It's hard to judge Jakku Spy based solely on this brief opening, but it does give you a glimmer of what it would be like to be inside a Star Wars movie, not just an outside observer. And whether it leads to the Dark Side or not, it's a path I want to take. Your thoughts?